With around 2.9 billion users globally, Facebook is the biggest and most famous social media platform. However, the vast user base potentially makes it more susceptible to fraud, one of the most severe adversities the platform faces year by year.
While Facebook has tried to adopt policies that safeguard its users against scams, they are still quite rampant. In 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that US consumers lost close to $800 million to social media fraud in 2021.
With scamming trends mushrooming, it is wise for Facebook users to learn how to shield themselves to avoid becoming victims of scams. Here are 8 of the best tips.
1. Be Cautious with Friend Requests
Facebook’s main mission is to connect the world. This is mainly done through sending, receiving friend requests, and engaging with other users. However, not every account is legitimate. Due to the ease of creating a Facebook account, anyone can have as many as they want, even for malicious motives.
Therefore, it’s important to exercise caution when sending or accepting friend requests. Don’t open a Pandora’s box. For instance, a friend request from a user you don’t share any mutual friends with is suspicious. Accepting such friend requests may leave you vulnerable to scams. Therefore, always do a background check before sending or accepting friend requests. This will help you to connect to only trustworthy and familiar individuals.
2. Adjust Privacy Settings
One of the steps Facebook has taken to safeguard its users’ security is developing robust privacy settings. These settings help regulate who can see the information you share on the platform and the people you engage with. This reduces the chances of falling prey to scams. The following are important privacy settings you should consider adjusting:
People Who Can See Your Posts
You can choose to share your posts with either friends, the public, or yourself only. Remember, it is not advisable to share sensitive data with anyone on social media, as you can give malicious users a head start to lure you into scams.
People Who Can Tag You or Post on Your Timeline
Regulate the people who can tag you or post on your timeline to avoid engagement with strange and potentially malicious users.
Choose who you want to see your profile information. If you deem the information sensitive, do not leave it open for the public to see.
To be safe, keep direct messaging restricted to only friends to avoid connection with users with malicious intentions.
Additionally, use Nuwber to confirm a user’s personal details and real identity before engaging with them on Facebook.
3. Block and Report
Sometimes, malicious schemes on social media are very easy to spot. In such cases, you can help Facebook deal with the schemes to protect other users from taking the bait. You can do this by blocking and reporting users you deem fraudulent. The platform may then suspend or ban the accounts.
Additionally, reporting helps Facebook develop algorithms that identify suspicious behavior to help them control harmful activities before they spread.
To your advantage, user blocks cut off any communication with someone you suspect to be targeting you maliciously.
4. Verify Information
Disinformation, scams, and fake news can be rife on social media. For example, there are a lot of posts about bogus giveaways and fundraisers on Facebook that target ignorant and unaware users. To be safe, always verify the information you see before acting.
- Verify the legitimacy of the source of information by going through their profile.
- Cross-check the source with other sources online and offline.
- Check for dates to ensure the information is not outdated. A common strategy for scammers is using outdated events and programs to defraud users.
- Consider reading full articles instead of sensational headlines. However, do not open fishy links.
- Reach out to official sources. For example, contact a company on its website about the giveaway you see on adverts.
5. Avoid Sharing Accounts
Companies, spouses, and families are notorious for sharing accounts, whether because of accountability or convenience. However, that one person can be a liability in case they fall into the trap of scammers.
For example, kids may not properly discern between scams and legitimate things they see on their parents’ Facebook accounts. Alternatively, you can opt for the safer option for your children, such as Messenger Kids.
In the case of an organization and spouses, ensure they are either educated, professional, or simply well aware of the platform’s vulnerabilities.
6. Don’t Tell Anyone Your Password
Don’t give scammers an inch, or they’ll take a mile. Giving out your password or sharing it with online friends may subject your account to hacking and exposing your sensitive data to theft. As a rule of thumb, your password should be your secret. Additionally, use two-factor authentication to safeguard your account in the unfortunate event it gets compromised.
7. Beware of Common Scams
Be on the lookout for well-recognized scams to avoid getting defrauded. Here are common scams prevalent on Facebook:
- Bogus giveaways, coupons, and fundraisers;
- Celebrities asking for money;
- Family members asking for money using different accounts;
- Strangers asking for your personal information or financial help;
- Spam messages about cryptocurrency and financial advice;
- Fake games and surveys.
8. Trust Your Instincts
Despite scammers being smart, some of their efforts seem too good to trust. If you suspect any malice on Facebook, avoid acting, no matter the sense of urgency presented. Remember, social media is just one means of communication, and you can always call someone, text, or meet in person.
Despite Facebook’s struggles to control fraud and safeguard its users, scammers exploit gullible and innocent individuals. Unfortunately, people continue to lose money from vicious schemes each year, and with the perpetrators coming up with smarter ways to defraud, it’s time users learn to keep their guard up. With the above tips, keeping people with ill intentions at bay is much easier. Don’t let anyone scam you out of what rightfully belongs to you.